The Plasmodium falciparum pseudoprotease SERA5 regulates the kinetics and efficiency of malaria parasite egress from host erythrocytes

PLoS Pathogens
Christine R CollinsMichael J Blackman


Egress of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum from its host red blood cell is a rapid, highly regulated event that is essential for maintenance and completion of the parasite life cycle. Egress is protease-dependent and is temporally associated with extensive proteolytic modification of parasite proteins, including a family of papain-like proteins called SERA that are expressed in the parasite parasitophorous vacuole. Previous work has shown that the most abundant SERA, SERA5, plays an important but non-enzymatic role in asexual blood stages. SERA5 is extensively proteolytically processed by a parasite serine protease called SUB1 as well as an unidentified cysteine protease just prior to egress. However, neither the function of SERA5 nor the role of its processing is known. Here we show that conditional disruption of the SERA5 gene, or of both the SERA5 and related SERA4 genes simultaneously, results in a dramatic egress and replication defect characterised by premature host cell rupture and the failure of daughter merozoites to efficiently disseminate, instead being transiently retained within residual bounding membranes. SERA5 is not required for poration (permeabilization) or vesiculation of the host cell membrane at ...Continue Reading


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Methods Mentioned

light microscopy
fluorescence imaging
gene modification

Software Mentioned

Adobe Photoshop
Nikon NIS - Elements
GraphPad Prism

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